Our Canadian Thanksgiving just passed this past week on Monday. My family and I had our own little celebration here at home, and we were able to get all four kids around the table which is what I was thankful for. Instead of turkey, we barbecued ribs. We figured the September and October weather has been wonderful here, and that before long, we wouldn’t be able to be outside. I made the rest of the fixings that go with a turkey dinner because my kids love mashed potatoes and stuffing. We also had Brussels sprouts done in the Crock-Pot, gravy, barbeque sauce, beets, pickled onions and of course, pumpkin pie to top it off. Ugh! We were full.
It was good to have all the kids together. With all their busy work schedules, we rarely get to sit together at the table to eat. I do cook a dinner 5 to 6 nights of the week, but we can’t all be at the table at the same time. Jobs today seem to consist of minimum wage and working all kinds of hours. My second oldest son just got a job with a well-known telecommunications company this past July. He is working many 10 to 12 hour days for minimum wage. Not ideal, but today, you have to start somewhere. My oldest son has been working with a seasonal company for the past 3 years now. When November comes, it’s always hard when this job ends and he has to find another for the winter. He makes not too bad an income with this job, but when he has to find work to fill in for the winter, he’s right back to earning minimum wage. My daughter still can’t find work for what she went to school for and is working retail to make some sort of income. My youngest son has a pretty decent job right now at a big-name warehouse store but is still part-time after a year and probably will be considered part-time for a few more years.
This is not an easy road for this generation to follow. My generation had it a little easier. We usually found jobs right out of college in what we had studied in school. I was earning more than what minimum wage is now for a legal secretarial job back in the late 80s and early 90s. The cost of things are rising without people’s pay reflecting the same. House prices are outrageous, especially in the big cities. In our situation, I don’t see my kids moving out any time soon to start their own homes. They want to move forward but just don’t have the finances to do so.
It’s so important for them to learn how to save as much money as they can now. Sometimes, for them, it means not going out on weekends. It means eating at home when they would rather go out to a restaurant or bar with friends. It means working those extra hours when offered even though they have already put in a 40-hour work week. However, there is a shift in how this generation (the millenials) are thinking. Whereas my generation (the baby boomers), thought in terms of getting a job, marrying, buying a home, having children and saving towards retirement, I notice with my kids the thought is saving for what they need now, not getting married and perhaps not even having children or having only 1 or 2 children. A house isn’t even on their immediate radar, although I know with my four kids, they would like eventually to own a home but feel like they will never get there. Retirement doesn’t even come up in a conversation with them. Perhaps my kids are too young yet, but it seems like putting money away for retirement is not even something to think about.
Even though it is difficult for them to save when they earn so little I try to tell them to just keep moving forward. Constantly put some money, even a small amount, away. I have a quote on my cork board beside my computer that says “Just start.” I think that we all need to try to follow that advice and just start. Start toward saving, start toward what you are passionate about, start enjoying things in your life. I know putting away and saving money can seem daunting, and I’ve written about it before here in this blog, but “just starting” and just putting away a little helps.
This Thanksgiving I have been thankful for not only my family but the ability to do the things I enjoy, like writing here in this blog. I guess it’s the small things sometimes in life that can truly make us happy. If you have already enjoyed your Thanksgiving this past Monday, or will be having your Thanksgiving as the Americans do in November, enjoy the small things and “just start” what you need to do and what you want to do. Happy Thanksgiving!